What is nomadic herding?


Pastoralism is a part of agriculture. It is a livelihood strategy based on the animal husbandry of sheep, goats, camels, chickens, yak, etc. Pastoralism is available in many varieties in different parts of the world. However, such agricultural methods are based on climatic characteristics. There are two types of Pastoralism. Nomadic herding is one of them.

Agriculture is one of the oldest economic activities in the world. The type of farming is not the same in all parts of the world, there are many variations. Generally, the method of farming in a region depends on the climate.

Nomadic herding usually depends on the climate. This activity directly affects the economic dependence of the preceptors. Nomadic herding is common in regions or territories with very little arable land in the developing country (2).

Nomadic herding

There is a type of ecological system of agriculture that develops in the semi-arid and arid regions known as nomadic herding. It is an agricultural system adapted by people who have no permanent accommodation in an area. This type of farming method was a result of the Neolithic agricultural revolution (1).

The movement in search of pasture is either over wide horizontal distances or vertically from one height to another in the highlands. In hilly areas, such as the Himalayas it migrates from the plains to the mountains in summer and from high altitude pastures to the plains in winter.

Some interesting features

  • Nomadic herding has been described as the movement of livestock from one place to another.
  • It is the most extensive type of land use method.
  • This livestock system is the main source of livelihood for the marginalized people of the African continent.
  • All nomads in nomadic herding are occupied and identified territory.
  • It is mainly a type of primitive subsistence farming method.
  • The main reason for the nomadic herding of the nomads was to find fresh pastures for their pets.
  • Nomads move from south to north in summer and from north to south in winter in the tundra region.
  • It is also known as pastoral nomadism.
  • In this agricultural system, there is no fixed schedule for nomads to travel from one place to another.
  • It is a primitive subsistence farming method.
  • Nomadic herding is generally prevalent in regions with very little arable land in the developing world.
  • Such farming methods are mainly used to meet the needs of food production, clothing, shelter, and entertainment for the family (2) & (3).

Name of animals that practice nomadic herding

Nomadic herding is an ancient farming method. In this agricultural method, nomads move from one place to another. Sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys, camels, horses, reindeer, etc are mainly reared in nomadic herding. Nomads apply this farming method to meet their own needs.

In Africa, cattle are important livestock. In Sahara and Asiatic deserts have sheep, camels, and goats. Yak and llamas are found mainly in the mountainous areas of the Andes and Tibet (1).

Where nomadic herding is found?

Found mostly in the arid and semi-arid regions like

  • The southwestern and central parts of Asia.
  • Northern Canada
  • The northern parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland.
  • Some parts of Saharan Africa such as Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, and Chad.
  • Kenya and the mountain region of Tanzania.
  • North Russia.
  • Maharashtra, Jammu, Kashmir, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, etc. in India (2) & (3).

Important region

There are three important regions of nomadic herding.

1. The Atlantic shores of North Africa eastwards across the Arabian peninsula into Mongolia and central China.

2. South West Africa in the southern hemisphere and the island of Madagascar.

3. The tundra region of Eurasia (2).

Function or uses

1. Nomadic herding is one of the ancient period’s primitive livelihood activities. Its main importance here is that the headers depend on animals for food, clothing, shelter, and transport.

2. Headers stabilize their finances by rearing all these animals and exporting various animal products to the market.

3. Only produces food for the nomadic family.

4. With this farming, nutritious food is available regularly. Mainly livestock farming is done here.

5. Nomads in nomadic herding produce some essential products such as meat, milk, wool, etc.

6. The headers totally depend on the animals like cattle, goats, camels, and horses for their livelihood.

7. This agricultural system has different types of animals. Animal dung is used for various fuels (1) & (2).


1. Nomadic herding is the least expensive method.

2. It does not require building farm structures and purchasing farm equipment.

3. There is free access to pastures for livestock grazing.

4. Low-cost animal husbandry is done here.

5. All animals that are reared in this farming are used for transport and plowing.

6. By applying this type of farming method, various animal products like dairy, milk, meat, skins, fibers, etc. are available.

7. Nomads can access agricultural products without farms or businesses (3).


1. In this case, the production is very low.

2. Animals do not receive very good veterinary care. The disease rate is very high.

3. The children of the nomads lack education as a result of moving from one place to another.

4. There were almost clashes between the nomads. This is due to the infiltration of cattle and the destruction of farm crops in open grazing.

5. As a result of the migration, the nomads live in the bushes, they and their families do not get basic social facilities and infrastructures like water, electricity, hospitals, and schools.

6. Here animals and herdsmen have to face some attacks.

7. There is a lack of security for cattle and pastoralists in this agricultural system (2) & (3).


1. Nomadic herding was prevalent in which type of climate?

Nomadic herding was prevalent in arid and semi-arid climates such as

  • The southwestern and central parts of Asia.
  • Northern Canada
  • The northern parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland.
  • Some parts of Saharan Africa such as Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, and Chad.
  • Kenya and the mountain region of Tanzania.
  • North Russia.

Written By: Manisha Bharati

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